Issue 32: Crescent City Kite Festival

Nestled against the beautiful Northern California coast, the 3rd annual CCKF drew kite enthusiasts from all over CA, OR and WA to fly in Crescent City over Labor Day weekend.

Moon Kushner and I took the 6 hour drive down from Portland with Penny Lingenfelter, who drove from even further away in Port Orchard WA… Arriving at the event hotel (Anchor Beach Inn) around 5am Saturday morning, we scrambled to grab a couple precious hours of shut-eye before a long day on the beach.

After a fortifying breakfast at event sponsor Northwoods Restaurant we headed just a 1/4 mile back down the road to see an incredibly colorful display of banners, many of them custom-made to order by Bob Serack.. Also helping ignite the weekend in the light 2-4 mph morning winds was Ed Jensen, flying the first of six kite arches he brought out with the help of his son Andrew.. As I recall, Ed mentioned average 167 kites in each arch, totalling 1002 all together.

Fliers gathered at the 10am (on time) pilots meeting to set ground rules and flight order for most of the day’s demonstrations… Although the sport kite demo field was a touch on the small side at 150×150 feet or so, it had been hand-raked and groomed for debris with great care by Bill Fitzpractick and gave the festival a great “up close” feel both for the fliers and spectators.

We saw excellent performances from Larry Clark, Al Washington and others… Worthy of note was Shane Hill, who lost primary use of his right hand while still in high school and flies inspiring dual line routines using just one hand and a single modified handle!

Penny Lingenfelter did a wonderful job of teaching passersby how to fly the quad line kites… She is going out of her way to show the public how easy it is! In addition to her usual array of freestyle routines using costumes and dance, Penny also spent a lot of time flying her new Super Blast from Revolution and cruising around on the beach in her buggy as well as narrating a introduction to quads for the audience.

Not to be outdone, Bob Serack flew both a 5-stack of custom Rev 1.5’s and his own hand-made stack of 24 mini Revolutions… Even with minor tuning issues, he put on quite a display.

On the multi-kite spectrum Northwest favorite Carl Bragiel kept his 3 dual line Gull kites aloft and independently controlled with six lines… The creator of the Gull and Oregon Kite Company, Gary MacEachern also showed his talents by flying two kites simultaniously.

Directly facing the field was a good array of vendors featuring kettle corn, cotton candy, hot dogs, chili, sausages, nachos, sno cones, ice cream and more… We couldn’t keep Bob Serack away from the kettle corn!

Sunday brought back the nice ocean breezes of 3-5 mph, slowly building to 5-10 mph… Although the sun didn’t crack through until 2 or 3 o’clock, the weather was dry and quite bearable.

We were pleasantly surprised to see that the demos were open to new comers and “professionals” alike… Unlike so many events nowadays, the organizers have made it a point to welcome fliers at any experience level, affording them the chance to spread their wings… Our hats off to them!

Every few years there is a young sport kite flier who demonstrates true interest, passion and pushes the envelope of his skills… Add Grants Pass Oregon native and NW regular J.D. Fabich to that list. Over the weekend he performed individual dual line ballets, flew pairs with friend Al Washington after only a couple hours practice, did a multi-kite routine with two Legacies and was seen even flying his Gull UL through a dog stake quite well on Sunday morning… All at the ripe old age of 15.

An even younger flier entered the demo field for his very first public performance… 9 year old Codyjon Anderson from northern california kite club rocked out a great routine with his Jam Session and rainbow tail while flying to a piece from Disney.

They also let me fly some demos on both days, Peter Gunn and Bugs Bunny being my favorites… My cohort Moon Kusher flew a couple of quad ballets on Sunday, also joining me to fly a pairs demo with our Revs and then to demonstrate basic quad controls while Penny described them.

In addition to Ed Jensen’s six kite arches, Rod and Cindy Thrall kept their giant inflatable teddy bears up for most of the weekend as well as running several candy drops in some tough winds… Ed Jensen had his huge Bols out on both days and Doug Larock of Yakima WA also helped to fill the sky with his own 29′ and 40′ deltas… Bob Serack rounded out the big kite show with the world’s biggest soccer ball.

Steve O’Brien did a fantastic job of keeping the crowd well informed about kites, fliers and key sponsors on both days… We’re grateful to have such a fine announcer available to us in the Northwest, particularly with the recent retirement of longtime announcer Rick Talbot.

Our thanks and congratulations to Deb Smith and the Rogue Valley Windchasers, the AOK, Crescent City itself and all of the other sponsors and volunteers who have helped shape this great event into what it is today.

John Barresi